Mendeley Tips from NAHSL 2012

January 3, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Posted in Awards and Recognition, Continuing Education, NAHSL Annual Meeting 2012, Professional Development | 2 Comments

Thanks to a NAHSL Professional Development Award, I was able to attend our excellent fall conference and also co-taught a class with Alison Clapp on Mendeley, one of the “cool free tools” available to us on the Web. I thought I would take this opportunity to write about some of the main things that we learned in preparing for our class in the hopes that it will inspire you to explore Mendeley yourself!

Without further ado, here are the top 5 things I learned about Mendeley in 2012:

1. Mendeley can be used as a free citation/PDF manager:

The Mendeley software is comprised of two components: a cloud/web-based version and a desktop version (these are synced together). After you create an account and customize your profile on the web-based version of Mendeley, you are able to download the desktop component. References/PDF files and citations can be tagged, grouped and manipulated. Putting citations and PDF files into your Mendeley library is as easy as drag and drop. Watch your staff say “wow” as you demo this feature! Mendeley also includes Adobe editing tools so that you can highlight and takes notes on those PDF files. In addition to the price “advantage”, Mendeley can be accessed from any computer, anywhere.

2. Mendeley can be used with word processing software:

Using the Mendeley plug-in for Word, you can insert references and create bibliographies. Mendeley also provides a number of styles including those from the AMA and APA. With this capability, the software is useful for researchers, clinicians as well as librarians.

3. Similar to LinkedIn, you can use Mendeley as your professional Web “presence”:

Options include adding a picture and a detailed online C.V. You also can create groups for either public or private collaboration. You can follow groups which are already formed. Note: there is a private Mendeley for Librarians group which you might want to join.

4. Mendeley is a huge multi-disciplinary citation and document repository:

This is a searchable database of more than 330 million documents and more than 2 million registered users. Subjects include everything from arts and literature to medicine, and there is both a basic and an advanced search page.

5. Mendeley is a work in progress:

Mendeley has been described as the “intersection between Facebook, PubMed and EndNote”. Like most Web-based free products, there is constant change in the software which can mean that you should be prepared for a “glitch” or perhaps a delay in connectivity.

All things considered, however, it is definitely worth trying Mendeley either for personal use or for potential use by your staff.

Let me know what you think!

Nathan Norris, MLS, AHIP
Information Specialist
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Boston, MA

P.S., Thanks to Alison Clapp for assistance with this post!


NAHSL 2012 Wrap-Up

December 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Posted in NAHSL Annual Meeting 2012, Professional Development | Leave a comment

This year’s NAHSL conference was the second that I have attended. Being rather new to librarianship, I haven’t before worked in a professional career that gave me the opportunity to participate in conferences. When I went the first time, I welcomed the chance to meet with vendors and take a CE course, and to hear the speakers. Although I enjoyed and benefitted from all those things this second time around, I was more gratified to have the opportunity to be with my NAHSL colleagues. That, for me, was the highlight of this year’s conference.
Now that I know so many more of my fellow medical librarians, I truly appreciated the opportunity to network, to have fun with, to talk and share experiences with people who are now more than just names on the other end of a DOCLINE. It’s so easy to forget the importance of person-to-person dialogue and the art of conversation in an age where email, texting, and social networking are becoming the norms in interpersonal and business communications.
I was especially gratified to meet with Claire LaForce, NAHSL’s credentialing liaison to MLA. We discussed CAHSL’s plan to start an AHIP focus group, a discussion that led to talks with MLA about how we can encourage and support our state members who want to earn the AHIP membership. Claire and I are also working on plans to do more for our region to encourage AHIP certification, and help those who might find the process a bit daunting. I left the conference energized, excited about the possibilites this next year holds, and looking forward to meeting my colleagues in Falmouth in 2013.

Submitted by Donna Belcinski, Clinical Librarian, Greenwich Hospital

NAHSL 2012 Wrap-up

December 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Posted in NAHSL Annual Meeting 2012, Professional Development | Leave a comment

NAHSL 2012 was a whirlwind this year, and, thank goodness, it had nothing to do with the weather, although the threat of interesting meteorological events did keep some people away. This was the first NAHSL conference I had been able to attend in a few years. Any opportunity to be back in Vermont works for me, too. 

Elaine Alligood’s Diagnostic Error class was excellent and very well-attended. A number of people shared experiences, both their own and those of friends or relatives with serious problems relating to incorrect or delayed diagnoses. The discussions were lively, and I suspect the class could have easily lasted all day. To say that the video that we saw, Jess’s Story, was moving would be a serious understatement. It should be required viewing for medical students and practicing doctors. I have taken classes at conferences in the past that did not have much staying power; this class has changed my perspective and thinking on this subject, and the effect will, I believe, remain with me for a long time. Shortly after I returned home to unaffected Maine, I borrowed What Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman. The patient safety manager has been a friend since the day I started at Togus, and I hope to work more closely with him around this topic. 

Lisa Schwartz’  and Steve Woloshin’s talk dovetailed wonderfully with Gary Schwitzer’s presentation and, again, are likely going to remain with me for some time. It has been interesting to see how often articles by Gary Schwitzer appear in MedPageToday, an email I have subscribed to for several years.  If the value of any learning is whether and how it affects our lives long term or maybe permanently, then these presentations were of value. I doubt that I will hear statistics about a procedure or medication without mentally taking a step back and thinking about what is not being told, or thinking about it more critically. We all know the expression that ignorance is bliss. Many years ago I decided that meant that my ignorance was someone else’s bliss, something I try to avoid. These presentations along with the class have helped me be a bit less ignorant. 

I am very grateful to the Professional Development committee for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference. It was difficult to keep up with new things when I was unemployed. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss much, and I don’t think I did. Thank you.

Submitted by Chris Fleuriel, VA Maine Healthcare System

Do You know Your Risk? (Comment from NAHSL 2012)

December 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Awards and Recognition, NAHSL Annual Meeting 2012, Professional Development, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

To follow-up on  Lynn Sabol’s great post on the NAHSL Annual Conference presentation Seeing Through Exaggeration: It’s Overdue by Lisa Schwartz and Steve Woloshin I would like to highlight the section of the talk that focused on risk assessment.  The presenters included in their talk an excellent explanation of how risk statistics work and the important difference between relative and absolute risk.  Even though I have taken a number of statistics courses I still sometimes find it hard to fully understand what these numbers truly mean when they are presented in drug ads. 

To provide a very simple summary of the importance between the relative and absolute risk one needs to know when a drug claims to reduce your health risk by 50% (relative risk) whether that means that your chances are reduced from 2 in 10 to 1 in 10, or from 2 in a million to 1 in million (absolute risk).  The presenters highlighted the fact that, even though the statistics being presented in drug claims may be accurate, giving only the relative risk really gives the public no true idea of the real magnitude of the drug’s benefit.

Their explanation was so clear that I wanted to share the handouts with those of you who were not able to be there. 

The links to the handouts provided at the session are listed under the Tip sheet link at the website: //

Robin B. Devin, MLS, PHD
Head of Reference and Health Sciences Librarian
University of Rhode Island Library

Seeing Through Exaggeration: It’s Overdue

December 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Posted in Awards and Recognition, NAHSL Annual Meeting 2012, Professional Development | Leave a comment


Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz gave a fascinating and prescient presentation about how facts or lack of facts in medical messaging drives the role of hype in medical media.  Their talk centered on improving communication when delivering information on medical subjects.   Their formula for good information for the public is:  facts and values equal good decisions.  Unfortunately facts don’t always show up accurately in medical messaging.   And once more when dealing with the media (politics comes to mind) hype plays a big part in generating fear and false hope. 

One example they gave was a website called which promotes getting a brain scan in order to know your risk of brain maladies even though there is no evidence that brain scans eliminate that risk. 

Their fix for this over-hype and exaggeration is to promote healthy skepticism.  And as in all things of this world, it all comes down to the money.  Companies use hype and exaggeration to sell products and raise funds.    According to the authors’ research, much of the hype comes from press releases which are mostly accepted as gospel by media outlets, which use them to get their news stories.  And of course news stories generate revenue.  By using a broad definition of disease in reporting stories, undue concern is raised.  And with heightened concern, the drug companies, device manufacturers, researchers and advocacy groups benefit from more people sick.    Media presents a “diagnosis” then expands disease symptoms and risk factors.  This leads to an up and down cycle:  Have to make people aware that they are sick but we have the cure but then again there are risks using that cure….

We are cautioned by the authors to question presented statistics to make sure that they are truly representing what the advertising is trying to tell us.  Those large percentage improvements may turn out to be truly miniscule upon review. 

The solution by the presenters is a skeptical media that questions before promoting a solution.  And this they outline and explore in their book, Know Your Chances, Understanding Health Statistics which explains how to read through all the hype and made good information accessible to the public.  One innovation they have come up with is the use of a Drug Fact Box that presents important information in an easily read format, much like the nutrition information now used on food products.  The FDA is looking into adopting the use of the Drug Fact Box at some time in the future.  Read more about what the authors have to say at: 

How a charity oversells mammography.  Woloshin S. Schwartz, LM.  BMJ 2012 Aug 2; 345: e5132 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e5132.

Influence of medical journal press releases on the quality of associated newspaper coverage: retrospective cohort study.  Schwartz LM, Woloshin S. Andrews A. Stukel TA BMJ 2012 Jan 27; 344: d8164 doi: 10.1136.bmj.d8164.

Communicating uncertainties about prescription drugs to the public: a national randomized trial.  Schwartz LM, Woloshin S.  Arch Intern Med. 2011 Sep 12; 171(16): 1463-8.

Promoting healthy skepticism in the news: helping journalists get it right.  Woloshin S, Schwartz LM, Kramer BS.  J Natl Cancer Inst 2009 Dec 2; 101(23): 1596-9. Epub 2009 Nov 20.

Press releases by academic medical centers: not so academic?  Woloshin S, Schwartz, LM, Casella SL, Kennedy AT, Larson RJ.  Ann Intern Med 2009 May 5; 150(9): 613-8.

 Lynn Sabol, MLS
Waterbury Hospital
Health Center Library

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.